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Dans la mouvance du prince: la symbolique du pouvoir itinérant au Maghreb

Jocelyne Dakhlia
Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales
43e Année, No. 3 (May - Jun., 1988), pp. 735-760
Published by: EHESS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27583838
Page Count: 26
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Dans la mouvance du prince: la symbolique du pouvoir itinérant au Maghreb
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Abstract

The Maghreb's Beys and Sultans share a long tradition of voyaging, institutionalized in expeditions known as mehallas and harkas. These latter, which are almost always fiscal ventures, take on an obviously repressive character and constitute a means of controlling regions over which the central administration has little control. Their cost, however, is so high that the net balance after such a mobilization is sometimes nil. One must also interpret the "mehallas" as attempts to make people believe in the legitimacy of power, and as enactments of the kingdom's harmony, answering to the subjects' own expectations. The procession's staging borrows models of Muslim power which are not specific to the Maghreb: mimesis of the Prophet, the fiction of the Holy War, and so on. On the other hand, the structural tension between a mobile exercice of power and its sedentary practice—in an extremely shifting and unstable political context in which each group's alliance with the sovereign must be constantly renegotiated— may well be a feature particular to the Maghreb.

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